The Chicago Cubs are looking to improve their pitching rotation for next season, and they’ve already made their first move.
The Cubs announced Friday they will be picking up the $20 million contract option on starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Hamels, whom the Cubs acquired in a trade with the Texas Rangers, posted a 4-3 record with a 2.36 ERA in 12 starts with the Cubs after the deadline.
The option will be paid in part by the Rangers, who will pick up $6 million of the money owed to Hamels. In order to save money on the other part of the contract, the Cubs will send pitcher Drew Smyly and a player to be named later to the Rangers in exchange for a player to be named later, clearing $7 million from the Cubs’ books.
With Hamels now under contract, the Cubs’ 40-man roster stands at 37 players, and their pitching rotation, on paper, looks strong for next season, as Hamels will join Yu Darvish, Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, and Jose Quintana in that mix. Tyler Chatwood and Mike Montgomery could also be players to watch if the team decides to retain both of them, but that seems unlikely given the crowded nature of the team’s rotation.